Lauren Beukes

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Mini Pin-It Reviews #14 – Four Thriller Novels

Published September 18, 2017 by bibliobeth

Hello everyone and welcome to another mini pin-it reviews post! I have a massive backlog of reviews and this is my way of trying to get on top of things a bit. This isn’t to say I didn’t like some of these books – my star rating is a more accurate reflection of this, but this is a great, snappy way of getting my thoughts across and decreasing my backlog a bit. This time I’ve got four thriller novels for you – please see my pin it thoughts below!

1.) The Farm by Tom Rob Smith

What’s it all about?:

Until the moment he received a frantic call from his father, Daniel believed his parents were headed into a peaceful, well-deserved retirement. They had sold their home and business in London, and said “farewell to England” with a cheerful party where all their friends had gathered to wish them well on their great adventure: setting off to begin life anew on a remote, bucolic farm in rural Sweden.

But with that phone call, everything changes. Your mother’s not well, his father tells him. She’s been imagining things–terrible, terrible things. She’s had a psychotic breakdown, and has been committed to a mental hospital.

Daniel prepares to rush to Sweden, on the first available flight the next day. Before he can board the plane, his father contacts him again with even more frightening news: his mother has been released from the hospital, and he doesn’t know where she is.

Then, he hears from his mother:

I’m sure your father has spoken to you. Everything that man has told you is a lie. I’m not mad. I don’t need a doctor. I need the police. I’m about to board a flight to London. Meet me at Heathrow.

Caught between his parents, and unsure of who to believe or trust, Daniel becomes his mother’s unwilling judge and jury as she tells him an urgent tale of secrets, of lies, of a horrible crime and a conspiracy that implicates his own father.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

2.) Broken Monsters – Lauren Beukes

What’s it all about?:

Detective Gabriella Versado has seen a lot of bodies, but this one is unique even by Detroit’s standards: half boy, half deer, somehow fused together. As stranger and more disturbing bodies are discovered, how can the city hold on to a reality that is already tearing at its seams? If you’re Detective Versado’s geeky teenage daughter, Layla, you commence a dangerous flirtation with a potential predator online. If you’re desperate freelance journalist Jonno, you do whatever it takes to get the exclusive on a horrific story. If you’re Thomas Keen, known on the street as TK, you’ll do what you can to keep your homeless family safe–and find the monster who is possessed by the dream of violently remaking the world.

If Lauren Beukes’s internationally bestselling The Shining Girls was a time-jumping thrill ride through the past, her Broken Monsters is a genre-redefining thriller about broken cities, broken dreams, and broken people trying to put themselves back together again.

Would I recommend it?:

Probably!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

Girl 4 (January David #1) – Will Carver

What’s it all about?:

Detective Inspector January David has always put his professional before his private life, but the two worlds are about to clash horrifically as he visits his latest crime scene. He is confronted by a lifeless figure suspended ten feet above a theatre stage, blood pouring from her face into a coffin below.
This gruesome execution is the work of an elusive serial killer. Three women from three different London suburbs, each murdered with elaborate and chilling precision. And as January stares at the most beautiful corpse he’s ever seen, he detects the killer’s hallmark. But Girl 4 is different: she is alive – barely. And January recognises her…

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

4.) The Two (January David #2) – Will Carver

What’s it all about?:

They Kill Without Mercy. Disappear Without A Trace.

They are The Two.

And now the stakes are raised once more for Detective January David.

5 lie dead, brutally murdered – the first taken on the night of Halloween and as autumn bleeds into winter more ritualistic murders are discovered.

January must battle his demons, for in his mind lies the clue to stopping a ruthless murderer.

But his worst nightmares have literally come true when he discovers there’s not one but two twisted killers on the loose …

Would I recommend it?:

Probably!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

NEXT UP ON MINI-PIN IT REVIEWS: The first four books in the Harry Dresden series by Jim Butcher.

 

February 2016 – Real Book Month

Published February 7, 2016 by bibliobeth

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Every other month I set myself a little challenge to complete which alternates depending on the month from Chrissi Cupboard Month and Real Book Month to Kindle/NetGalley/Review Copy Month. This February it is the turn for real books, which is one of my favourite months. I have a HUGE backlog of books just itching to be read and its a way of trying to get that pesky TBR and my own book collection down to er…more manageable levels, if at all possible! This February I shall mostly be reading : –

The Sparrow – Mary Doria Russell

A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara

Heart-Shaped Box – Joe Hill

Wolf Winter – Cecilia Ekbäck

The Paying Guests – Sarah Waters

The Shut Eye – Belinda Bauer

Hollow City (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #2) – Ransom Riggs

The Farm – Tom Rob Smith

Broken Monsters – Lauren Beukes

The King’s Curse (The Cousins’ War #6) – Philippa Gregory

I think this must be one of my most exciting real books months to date. I literally cannot wait to read ALL of these books. Some have been languishing on the TBR pile for far too long, like Heart-Shaped Box, the debut novel from Stephen King’s son Joe Hill. Others are relatively newer additions, like The Sparrow which was recommended to me from one of my favourite podcasts, Books On The Nightstand. I have heard so many great things (also from BOTN) about the Man Booker short-listed novel A Little Life and having loved her debut novel The People In The Trees, I’m so so excited to get to this one, hence why it’s nearer the top of the list.

Other novels I’ve been meaning to get to is Hollow City, the second in the fabulous Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series – please see my review for the first book HERE. Lauren Beukes novel, The Shining Girls was one of my top reads for 2013 and I cannot wait to read her most recent novel, Broken Monsters which has been staring at me from my bookshelves for quite a while now! The Paying Guests will be my first novel by Sarah Waters and I’ve heard amazing things. I know my blogger friend Cleo over at Cleopatra Loves Books loved it and it will be quite exciting to compare thoughts with her once I’m done. Finally, I’m looking forward to a bit of historical fiction and one of my favourite authors, Philippa Gregory with the final book in her Cousins’ War series.

This is going to be a great month, I just know it!

Confessions of Two Bibliophiles #4

Published January 8, 2014 by bibliobeth

CHAPTER FOUR: DO YOU BELIEVE THE HYPE?

Chrissi,
The hype about books is all around us, especially since we both joined the blogging world! What I was wondering is if you get taken in from the hype surrounding certain books? And then what happens if the book doesn’t live up to your expectations? In my case, usually bitter disappointment. I think the advertising around books is quite strong with the amount of media we have at our fingertips, and as I commute a lot to work, I often see books on the billboards around the tube which catch my attention. One that stood out for me recently was The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes. As soon as I saw the poster, I knew I just had to read that book, and luckily for me, it lived up to the hype. What do you think?
Beth x
Beth,Oh my God, I know! I seem to have learned about so many more books that I NEED to read since starting book blogging. It’s nice, but in a way, I start to feel a bit overwhelmed with it all.  There are so many series that I see so many of my favourite bloggers raving about that make me really want to read them. My TBR pile really did boom in 2013 and I don’t really see it decreasing any time soon. Don’t you ever wish that they could stop publishing books for a while so you could catch up?!I did have a few books in 2013 that I just couldn’t get on with. I think sometimes books do suffer from being so hyped. You imagine them to be amazing and unfortunately go into reading it with massive expectations. I hate being let down.

I do sometimes get pulled in by billboards, but it tends to be bloggers that influence me the most. I’ve mentioned before I feel pressure to read what’s popular and spoken about. Do you feel that way too?

Chrissi x

Chrissi,

I agree, it can be very overwhelming! I often feel like I shouldn’t go out the house, go on the internet or watch television because I often seem to see another book that I want. You know the state of my bookshelves as it is, packed to bursting with books I haven’t read and am desperately trying to get round to. If they could stop publishing, just for a year, I might be able to catch up a bit, hehe.
I also agree with you that books can suffer from being over-hyped. An example of this for me was The Passage by Justin Cronin. VERY hyped and a nice thick hardback that I have had to give away to the charity shop, as I was so disappointed by it. It has a fairly good rating on GoodReads, so I know there are people out there who do love it, but it just fell so flat for me and felt too “busy.” I haven’t even bothered with the second book in the series, that’s how let down I was by it!
I know you’ve done a post recently about feeling pressure in the book blogging world, and I think that bloggers can have a lot of influence, (my TBR pile is shocking!) but I’m trying not to feel bad if I don’t manage to get as many books read as I wanted. There are a few books hyped for this year I think. I know a few of the YA series have books coming out and as ever I’m looking forward to reading as much debut novels as I can. Have we become a bit wiser to hype do you think or will it still affect you?
Beth x
Beth,We definitely don’t need anymore on our TBR piles.. that’s for sure. I know I’ll add to mine though, I always do!I think I’m somewhat wiser to the hype now, and I definitely approach a hyped book with caution. I’m starting to realise that it doesn’t matter if I don’t like a certain book as there are plenty of books for me to dive into that I will like. I read for me, not anyone else at the end of the day.

Chrissi x

What do you think? Do you believe the hype? Have hyped books ever let you down? Please leave a comment and let us know your thoughts!

The Shining Girls – Lauren Beukes

Published September 29, 2013 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

The girl who wouldn’t die, hunting a killer who shouldn’t exist…

A terrifying and original serial-killer thriller from award-winning author, Lauren Beukes.

1930’s America: Harper Curtis is a delusional, violent drifter who stumbles on a house that opens onto other times.

Driven by visions, he begins a killing spree over the next 60 years, using an undetectable MO and leaving anachronistic clues on his victims’ bodies.

But when one of his intended ‘shining girls’, Kirby Mazrachi, survives a brutal stabbing, she becomes determined to unravel the mystery behind her would-be killer. While the authorities are trying to discredit her, Kirby is getting closer to the truth, as Harper returns again and again…

What did I think?:

This is the first novel showcased on Richard and Judy’s Autumn Book club this year and I was eager to read it after seeing a lot of publicity posters for it around Tube stations in London. The first thing that struck me whilst reading was how original and unique the story felt, and how much focus was placed on the serial killer as an ordinary (yet obviously very sadistic and warped) human being – which actually made him scarier in my opinion! Lauren Beukes has set up her villain of the piece, Harper Curtis as someone who seems unstoppable, perpetuating his terrible crimes by travelling through time from 1930’s Chicago at the heart of the Depression to the present day almost sixty years later in the nineties. He is assisted in his travels by a special House which appears to be built especially for his purposes and allows him to travel through decades. Within the House is also a special room which has a list of girls that “shine,” and whom he is obligated to kill and leave a memento from the previous victim, confounding all who try to track him down. He’s the ultimate hunter, vanishing into another time after each murder, untraceable-until one of his victims survives.

Kirby is an extraordinary character who manages to get help after being attacked by (deep breath everyone) holding her intestines in, resolute and refusing to die. Warning: the murders are incredibly gruesome and not for the weaker stomachs amongst us! By some miracle, Kirby manages to survive, and instead of wallowing in self pity or living her life in fear, she becomes determined to track down her killer and make him pay for what he did to her. So, the hunter becomes the hunted, and the author drags the reader kicking and screaming, but horribly intrigued, all the way to the end. This was a brilliant and fascinating new take on the serial killer genre, and there are some parts I won’t forget in a hurry. Lauren Beukes is a talented author who certainly knows how to write a compelling story – I literally could not put this book down. I can’t wait to see what she’s going to give us next.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

Richard and Judy Announce Their Autumn Reads 2013

Published September 1, 2013 by bibliobeth

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Richard and Judy are back for the Autumn with eight new titles for the Book Club. I always enjoy seeing what they have to offer, and again there’s a great selection:

The Shining Girls – Lauren Beukes

Snow White Must Die – Nele Neuhaus

The Husband’s Secret – Liane Moriarty

The Twins – Saskia Sarginson

The Last Runaway – Tracy Chevalier

Never Coming Back – Tim Weaver

Heartbreak Hotel – Deborah Moggach

Instructions For A Heatwave – Maggie O’Farrell

Looking forward to digging into these, if anyone wants to join me for a read-along, they are more than welcome!